In November 2014, CKNW put out a missing persons bulletin for 18 year old Nicole Karpluk who had last been seen in North Vancouver. Nicole’s mother, Holly, was desperately trying to locate Nicole because she had a history of drug addiction. Nicole resurfaced weeks later at St. Paul’s Hospital after being admitted while suffering from a drug induced psychosis.
At that time, Holly was unable to convince Nicole to get help. It took another hospitalization and a visit from the women of the Westminster House, a residential treatment centre for women healing from addiction, to convince Nicole to finally get help for her substance abuse.
Westminster House Treatment Centre for Women
Thanks to her time at Westminster House, Nicole is sober, has graduated from high school, and was just awarded The Women Do Recover award of Distinction. This award includes one year’s tuition and books and made possible by a partnership between Westminster House and Douglas College.
Nicole says the sense of community she felt that helped the treatment stick.
“I had a group of women around me, and I think that was the biggest thing. Having a social connection with people I could relate to, and I didn’t have to feel alone anymore. Just sticking with those women and just having them by my side. And eventually I got better and better, and started looking positively. It’s baby steps.”
There are many barriers that make it difficult for women to access treatment for substance abuse. Westminster House strives to remove these barriers and the stigma associated with addiction, so that any woman willing to recover can access treatment and live her life in recovery.
Susan Hogarth, the Executive Director of Westminster House says it’s about giving women an opportunity to reinvent themselves.
“It’s about giving a hand up, it really is. We’re not looking for handouts at Westminster House, we’re looking for hand ups. We just want to help women survive this devastating disease”
Listen to the full interview here:
Giving women a second chance
One of the ways they’re doing this is through the Gift of Recovery for Mother’s Day initiative. As part of the initiative, Westminster House is asking for nominations from the public for a mother or a daughter who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to access treatment. Either because they don’t qualify for government funding or don’t have the financial ability to fund treatment themselves.
The winner is provided with a sponsored bed for a 90-day stay at Westminster House. Not only will they provide access to treatment, but Westminster House will provide the full continuum of care for the entire family unit including on-going recovery, family support, and employment or educational opportunities after treatment.